Citation Information: Substitute Senate Bill 6350; Chapter 145, Laws of 2010; 61st Legislature; 2010 Regular Session
Effective Date: 06/10/10
Description: The state of Washington in the northwestern continental US has passed a law calling for development and implementation of a marine spatial plan for its state waters, which extend 3 nm from shore. The planning process will be led by an interagency team whose goals will include reducing conflicts between user groups, aligning existing management plans, and improving management of the state's marine resources. The law aligns with federal and regional efforts to advance ocean planning. A similar planning approach for federal waters was initiated last year by US President Barack Obama.
The new Washington law leaves to the discretion of the state director of fish and wildlife what fisheries management provisions will be included in the marine spatial plan. Other activities such as energy production, habitat protection, and regulating other uses that may affect fish populations are considerations that will be included in the plan. "Fisheries management is a particularly sensitive issue in our state with the co-management role of [Native American] tribes and the intense interest among recreational and commercial fishers in any plan provision that may have implications for fisheries management," says state Senator Kevin Ranker, who sponsored the bill. "Management of fisheries generally refers to regulating the time, place, and manner of the harvest of fish. For these activities, it is appropriate to think of the Department of Fish and Wildlife director as responsible for deciding what elements go into the plan."